There are so many things to worry about being a parent, one of which is about the safety of the products we buy for our children. Every few months or so, I feel like there is another report scaring the heck out of me about some product or another. Formula, milk and, recently Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo.
In a report dated March 12th, a U.S. consumer group, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, found toxic chemicals formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane in "dozens" of J&J's baby products, including baby shampoo. Formaldeyhde, a preservative found in construction materials, can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen. These allegations struck a nerve here in China where a slew of recent product safety and quality scandals have left consumers, especially parents, jittery. A Shanghai-based supermarket chain, Nong Gong Shang, even went so far as pulling J&J baby products from 3,500 stores.
The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration found no contamination by formaldehyde, or 1,4-dioxine, in 33 products -including 14 bath or or sanitary related items -sold by J&J's Shanghai branch. China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine also tested 31 batches of bath products made by J&J's China operation and found they met the standard for formaldehyde. One batch of Baby Peach Bath contained a small amount of p-dioxane. Apparently, it is inevitable for the product to acquire a small amount of this chemical during the production process and this small quantity does not pose a health risk.
We simply do not have the ability to research the safety of all the products to which we expose our kids. If we obsess too much about this, we will go crazy and become overly paranoid. On the other hand, we do not want to look the other way and create unnecessary risks to our children's health. I guess we all set our own guidelines to make ourselves feel better. Mine is a silly "just in case" rule: If there is a scare, even if resolved, I avoid the product. There are so many other ones from which to choose. Why take any chances? For now, I am only buying imported milk for Liam, will only buy imported formula for my newborn and using Mustela baby bath products instead of J&J ones.
About The Author...
Shanghai is an exciting, vibrant city with something for everyone. After three years living here, I still find that I am discovering new things to do. The city attracts an exciting mix of expats, who are usually friendly, adventurous, entrepreneurial, well-traveled, and open-minded. From a mom's perspective (have a toddler and another one on the way), Shanghai is filled with fun kid activities. The Chinese love children and are always exceptionally welcoming of us all over town. One thing, I can say for sure, nobody can complain of being bored here!
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Wouldn't it be great if some enterprising person set up a simple INDEPENDENT analytical chem lab in Shanghai equipped to do basic analyses for toxic chemicals? You'd be a billionaire in a month. Or offed by the local toxic chemical mafia.
More likely blackmailed into writing great reports for every product. :)
Hi - I love the smell of Mustela. Have you found it in Shanghai or imported it yourself?
They sell Mustela at Carrefour. Also, there is a big grocery store in the basement of Grand Gateway in Xujiahui. Along the side of the grocery store are many small shops. One of them sells lots of Mustela products.
Hi - I've just found a big range of Mustela products in OMEY a shop in the basement of Raffles City Plaza on Xi Zang Zhong Lu.
Good to know. I think the Mustela mosquito repellent is very good for babies too.
I''ve just moved to shanghai couple of weeks ago, and am having hard time finding good products for my 3yrs old and 8 months old such as shampoo, lotion, and imported baby food items; do you know any shop or area that is more likely to have these things found? and where is Mustela shop in PuXi ?
Dear Chloe, you'll find those products in the OMEY shop in the basement of [Raffles City](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/shopping/malls-department-stores/has/raffle-city/) Plaza on Xi Zang Zhong Lu.
There is also a great home delivery place/catalogue. They only speak Chinese so you need to ask your ayi to call and get a catalogue. The website is www.aiyingshi.com and the phone number is 962513. They have tons of stuff. The best part is they can deliver diapers to you home. With two babies, I go through so many.
I know that you are trying to be the best mom you can be, but I think that your "silly" rule is, frankly, just that. As you note, the labs indicate that these products are problem free and yet you go in search of other replacement products which have not been subject to the same rigorous scrutiny. Having worked for a big multinational consumer products corporation and I will attest to the fact that in this day and age that there is NO tolerance for any type of consumer risk.... which probably goes double for a company with the stellar medical reputation of Johnson and Johnson. Do a brand manager a favor and give them an opportunity to win your and your readers confidence back. Thanks!
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